Invisible Women, Invisible Problems

Invisible Women, Invisible Problems

Invisible Women, Invisible Problems

Widows across the globe are suffering in one way or the other. The problems of the widows include social stigma, superstitions, discrimination, harassment, exploitation, poverty etc.

In order to galvanize support from governments, civil society organizations, judiciary, community leaders, activists, religious leaders, media and relevant stakeholders, and encourage them to discuss, deliberate and act on policies, programs and laws required to empower the widows socially and economically, the United Nations announced 23rd June as an annual day of action to be observed as ‘International Widows Day’.

While International Women’s Day is observed with much fervor across the globe by all, many are not even aware of International Widows Day. This just reinforces a point that is being made through this year’s theme — Invisible Women, Invisible Problems. As women, widows have unique needs and challenges, many of which are not taken into consideration while making policies, even when they are specifically directed towards women empowerment. It is against this context, the International Widows Day observance throws a spotlight on these gaps and calls for attention and action from the communities all over the world — to root for their emancipation and strive for their empowerment. To take one step further from discussing equality to advocating for equity.

The most important objective of this day is to create a platform for widows to voice out their concerns and lived experiences of exploitation, discrimination, abuse and trauma. Not many events and platforms are created by governments or NGOs in this direction. In the aftermath of COVID’s second wave and the stories of struggle emerging from the widows left by a deadly pandemic, it becomes all the more important to provide them an opportunity to advocate for themselves to enable an inclusive recovery.

In a record-setting feat, Bala Vikasa Social Service Society organized two of the biggest gatherings of widows in the world with 10,000+ in attendance — first in Hyderabad (2018) and then in Vijayawada (2019), before the pandemic hit. The event saw the participants of Ministers, Legislators, Bureaucrats, Activists, NGOs, Religious Leaders and members of the civil society. Heads of major religions attended these events and confirmed to the participants that widow discrimination, in any form, is not sanctioned by any religion but is purely a customary practice influenced by strong superstitions in a patriarchal society.

A survey conducted by Bala Vikasa among 5000 young widows indicated that 29% of them have thought or attempted to commit suicide as they are not able to cope up with the situation, they are living in

A survey conducted by Bala Vikasa among 5000 young widows indicated that 29% of them have thought or attempted to commit suicide as they are not able to cope up with the situation, they are living in. This indicates the severity of a problem, completely neglected by all. A widow is not welcome to attend family celebrations or any auspicious events. They can’t even bless their own children during their weddings. A 60- year widower can remarry, without any resistance, but a young widow of 20 years can’t remarry without suffering character assassination or hearing dehumanizing taunts from the community. A widower can bless any one and can wear any dress but not a widow.

It is to note that some families coming from a specific class/background are somehow managing to break away from these in a few issues but even they are not able to completely experience or practice reform. Education, which is generally considered to be an antidote to many superstitious practices and social evils, is not changing things much. Some widows are trying very hard to raise their voice, stand up against all forms of discrimination while fighting, every day, for their family’s welfare and well-being.

Many times, the society and its members, however modern they might claim to be, are just not able to see beyond the superstitions, customs and taboos, and extend love, respect and generosity towards widows, even if they are their own. These discriminatory exchanges, practices and beliefs withhold widows from reaching their true potential and achieving success, even when they do not have any other option but to push through, for their children and their futures.

While financial security is an important aspect of widow empowerment, eradicating social discrimination is first and foremost for a widow to even think about stepping out of her house. As we progress as a society, making inclusion, equity and social justice the foundational principles, there need to be sustained efforts to integrate the rights of widows into these progressive discourses.

It requires governments, NGOs, feminists, social activists, media, religious leaders and the civil society to become active advocates for their cause. There is a need to have recurring events, activities, discussions, involving young and old alike, to highlight the challenges of widows and propose solutions for their emancipation and empowerment. Bala Vikasa has been spearheading events at the community level, at the district level and at the state level to amplify the voices of widows, galvanize support from all quarters of the society by making them aware of this pressing issue.

Social change is possible through enlightenment. Everyone can take a lead in their own way as per their resources, opportunities and influence. Everybody can become a change maker and contribute towards building a world that is safer, accepting and enabling of our mothers, sisters and daughters, no matter what.


Search Here

Recent posts

Social Entrepreneurship: A CSR Opportunity Awaiting Its Moment
Bala Vikasa CSRB conducts Impact Assessment and SROI for Various Development Projects in Water Conservation, Livelihoods and Women Empowerment Sectors
Training Programs Conducted for Development Professionals
200 Rural Poor Orphans Receive Financial Assistance Through Orphan Solidarity Program
Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice and Bala Vikasa Organise Asia Pacific Conference on Building Hope
Rythu Vikasa Sets Up an E-Commerce Platform to Improve its Market Access with the Help of Bala Vikasa
Bala Vikasa ED speaks on Community Water Purification Plants Maintenance at Aguasan Workshop
Tanks Restored in Tamil Nadu, 53.2 Million Litres of Storage Capacity Increased
Delegates from Kamal Udwadia Foundation(KUF) Interacts with Beneficiaries
Rural Poor women come together to provide for poor orphaned citizens
Bala Vikasa Supports Amazon in Setting up Amazon 21st Century Learning Lab
Bala Vikasa Conducts Health Camp in Over 100 Villages
Pioneering Community-Driven Corporate Social Responsibility for Sustainable Impact: Bala Vikasa Shows The Way
Encouraging Women to take up backyard gardening and contribute to environmental conservation
Bala Vikasa People Development Training Center Conducts Training Programs on Development Approaches and Trends
 Bala Vikasa sets up new Community Water Purification Plants in 7 Villages of Telangana
Bala Vikasa CSRB Conducts Panel Discussion on Social Impact and Technology
Plantation and Horticulture Activities Initiated with the Support of FAI
Bala Vikasa inaugurated Roof Water Harvesting Structures in Karnataka
Bala Vikasa Supports Organic Farmers in Organising Organic Mela
Nearly 300 rural poor widows receive financial assistance
Bala Vikasa Initiates a Series of Workshops on Entrepreneurship for Rural Entrepreneurs
The Striking Transformation of Ontimamidipally High School
School Supplies and Other Essentials Provided to Vikasa Children
Financial Assistance and Grocery Kits Provided to Widows
Training Programs Held for Women Micro Entrepreneurs on Business Management
First Solar Based Water Purification Plant set up in Pamena
Bala Vikasa Observes International Widows Day; Conducts Awareness Programs in 5 States
Walking, trekking, and rock climbing - not for sport but to fetch water: Addressing the struggles of Shahapur’s Adivasi Communities in accessing water
Bala Vikasa organise G20-C20 Summit events as the South India Regional Coordinators
Accelerating Climate Action: Why India's Rural Communities Hold the Key
10-day training program conducted for women farmers in tractor driving
Breaking the Barriers to Justice for Widows
Bala Vikasa assists communities to become Artificial Intelligence(AI) Ready as part of AI For All Campaign in partnership with Intel
Community Water Purification Plant set up in Palnadu
Bala Vikasa CSRB resumes Social Entrepreneur Talks webinar series
Bala Vikasa CSRB participates in Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp as Jury
Bala Vikasa Center for Social and Responsible Business(CSRB) launches its fourth incubation cohort - Promote and Incubate Social Enterprises (PrISE)
Organic Farmers Cooperative launches Rythu Vikasa Organic Mart with the support of Bala Vikasa in Warangal
Bala Vikasa PDTC conducts virtual trainings on Communications for NGOs
Rahul Bhardwaj, Senior Director and Head, Bala Vikasa Center for Social and Responsible Business interacts with global leaders in Social Entrepreneurship as part of the prestigious IVLP
Addressing Climate Change is Critical to Alleviating Poverty
Empowering Rural Communities On The Brink Of A Massive Pandemic
Critical Medical Equipment, Medical and Essential Supplies Help communities survive COVID Second Wave in Telangana
Invisible Women, Invisible Problems
People-Centered Action:  Building Communities Before Building Projects
Social Entrepreneurship: Model For Inclusive Development Or Another Fad Waiting To Wane Gradually
Bala Vikasa CSRB wraps up webinar series on social entrepreneurship with panel discussions and knowledge sharing sessions
Bala Vikasa CSRB hosts monthly meeting of Hyderabad based incubators, mentors, and other diverse stakeholders of the startup ecosystem in Telangana
Training Session in Responsible Business, Social Entrepreneurship at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology Garners High Praise
US Consulate Supported Workshop on Comparison of American and Indian Constitutions Inspires 150 Youth from 3 States
Bala Vikasa CSRB Shares Achievements, Explores New Collaborations, and Networks with Partner Community at HCL Foundation Convergence Meet
Bala Vikasa CSRB Invited as Sector Expert to Mentor Social Innovators and Start-Ups at Social Impact Bootcamp 2020 organized by TSIC and T-Hub
New Partnership with IMT-Hyderabad for Research and Programs to Promote Sustainability and Responsible Business Commences
Bala Vikasa Center For Social and Responsible Business (CSRB) conducts a panel discussion on the Effective Implementation of CSR projects amid the pandemic
Bala Vikasa Center For Social and Responsible Business (CSRB) commences Responsible Business webinar series with a knowledge sharing session on Impact Assessment for CSR Projects
Sector Experts speak from experience on
Bala Vikasa Center For Social and Responsible Business continues webinar series on Responsible Business initiating a discourse on CSR, SDGs, Climate Change and others
Workshop on 'Entrepreneurship and Innovation' at Nalla Narsimhareddy Group of Institutes
Development Professionals Laud CSRB for Providing Valuable Training in the Art of Effective Proposal Writing at Capacity-Building Workshop
Overwhelming Response to PDTC’s Web-Based Training Program on ‘Interpreting the Indian FCRA Amendment Act, 2020 for Nonprofits’
NGOs equipped to identify and seize CSR Opportunities through a series of virtual trainings
NGOs trained in formulating Performance Management Systems
Two-day virtual training held on Result Based Management for NGOs
Development Professionals From Four Countries Participate In A Capacity Building Program On Community Driven Development
Three-Day Exposure Visit Conducted For Development Professionals To Interact With Communities And Witness The Impact Of  The Development Projects
Workshop Held On ‘Writing Winning Proposals,’ For Development Professionals
Training Programs On Neuro-Linguistic Programming And Emotional Intelligence Held For NGOs
Capacity Building Program Held On ABCD Approach For NGOs Across The World In August
Development Professionals Trained In Development Rules To Follow For Sustainable Implementation of  Development Projects
Bala Vikasa Shares Feasibility Studies and Submits Proposal on 3-Year Development Interventions in Mahabubnagar to CLP India
Telangana Government Seeks Bala Vikasa Proposal for Setting Up 6 Sujal ATW Kiosks in Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad
Bala Vikasa Marketing and Liasoning Support Helps Organic Farmers Sell Produce for 10-15% Higher Returns, 200 New Farmers Join Program
Fitness enthusiasts champion Bala Vikasa Safe Water Revolution on Impact App, Walk 21 Million Steps to Help Fund 2 Purification Plants
With 300th Farm Pond Excavation, Bala Vikasa Water Conservation Program Enables Rural Poor Farmers Store 12 Cr Lts Water
Bala Vikasa Safe Water-Revolution Forges Full Steam Ahead Despite COVID19 Pandemic, 32 New CWPPs Inaugurated in 3 Months
Bala Vikasa Enter into a New Partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to Address the Water Crisis in Tamil Nadu Village
Bala Vikasa Provides 100 Widows Training in Advanced Tailoring Skills to Encourage Entrepreneurship with Manos Unidas Grant
Bala Vikasa Provides 1100+ Smartphones and Tabs to Orphans and Poor Students in Rural Telangana as COVID19 Disrupts Education
Organic Farmers increase profit by 25% through organic mela
1500 Organic Farmers Gather For Monthly Meetings on Organic Farming Practices
200 New Farmers Adopt Organic Farming in 200 Acres, The Project Expanded to Three New Villages
Godfrey Philips India and Chola to support Water Conservation and Safe Water Initiative
Skill Development Training Equips Widows and Rural Poor Women to Access Better Livelihood Opportunities
International Widows Day Events galvanize support for Widows, call for full and equal rights
Bala Vikasa Conducts Awareness Campaigns To Promote Digital Education In Rangareddy District
Meetings and Training Programs Held Creating Awareness On Organic Farming
Urine platforms and Azolla pits constructed to ease organic farming practices
Bala Vikasa Executive Director deliverd a webinar on ‘Training the Community in Operation and Management of Water ATMs,’ as part of Clean Water Talks webinar series
New Partnership With Sunlit Future To Install Solar Motor Pumps in Tribal villages
New partnership with Bharath Financial Inclusion Limited to revive Water Purification Plants in Karnataka
Bala Vikasa Conducts Skill Development Training For 10 Rural Poor Youth With The Support Of CLP India
Training Programs Held For Elected Village-Level Leaders To Bring Reforms In Perception of Widowhood
Street Play Performed In 15 Villages Promoting Organic Farming
Farmers Improve Livelihood Opportunites Through Farm Pond Excavation Activities
CGI and Give India Partner With Bala  Vikasa To Provide Livelihood Opportunities To COVID Widows
Bala Vikasa Distributed 330 Smart Phones To Rural Poor Youth in Telangana
Bala Vikasa Provides Financial Aid To 30 Young Widows To Help Them Lead A Better Life With The Support of SOPAR
Bala Vikasa’s women coordinators raise funds of INR Rs 7 Lakhs to help over 400 old and destitute people
Bala Vikasa Signs MoU With TSIC To Incubate Social Startups
Global Affairs Canada and SOPAR Support COVID Emergency Response Activities In 1000 Villages Of The Telugu States
180+ Orphans Provided With Financial Support To Pursue Higher Education